Arun Jaitley, who served as India's finance minister for five years until May 2019, passed away on Saturday in New Delhi. He was 66 years old.
Jaitley assumed command as the country's top economic representative in 2014 after Prime Minister Narendra Modi won an election promising to boost growth and create millions of jobs.
"Whether the story will remember that Jaitley tried to record the pieces instead of causing the event itself is hard to say," said Pronab Sen, Country Manager for India at the International Growth Center and former Indian Expert chief statistics, said CNN Business.
"Ancient India was economically fragmented. The new India will create a tax, a market and for a nation, "Jaitley said when the reform was passed by parliament.
The tax was widely praised as the cornerstone of the Indian economy. The International Monetary Fund said it could ultimately contribute nearly two percentage points to Indian growth. However, many companies had difficulty adjusting and said the new system was too complicated. The government has made several changes over the past two years to further simplify them.
"The grand finale, of course, was the completion of [goods and services tax] I think that will be his true legacy," said Sen.
Jaitley was a longtime member of Modi's right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). He was elected president of the University of Delhi in 1974 and represented the youth wing of the party. He was arrested the following year for protesting the state of emergency imposed by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and spent 19 months behind bars.
In a former BJP government, he served as Indian Minister of Law and Shipping in the early 2000s. In the first term of Modi, he briefly led the defense and business.